Lifestyle Changes to Ease Back Pain

Apr 14, 2023
Lifestyle Changes to Ease Back Pain
A painful back takes up much of your attention and time, likely to cause missed work and reduced sleep. Sometimes, the most effective ways to manage back pain are simple changes you can make to your routine.

Your back pain presents numerous challenges throughout your day, starting with getting out of bed in the morning. Though your back pain might seem relentless and resistant to the care you give it, you can use plenty of strategies to manage it even without clinical treatments and pharmaceuticals. 

According to the CDC, the percentage of adults in the United States who experience back pain increases according to your age bracket, affecting 28.9% of adults aged 18-29 and nearly half of adults over 65. No matter your age, back pain can be difficult to manage and many people need to try several different approaches before finding a strategy that works. 

Virtually Urgent Healthcare is a telehealth urgent care practice based in Dacula, Georgia, that provides accessible virtual evaluations and personalized care to patients across the state. Rolandine Vaughan, PA-C, MPAS, takes a compassionate and grounded approach to treating back pain so you can enjoy a higher quality of life without depending on drug therapies or surgery. 

Lifestyle changes are usually at the core of initial treatment for back pain and can make an impactful difference in your welfare. If you have debilitating or persistent back pain, try these easy techniques first:

1. Manage your weight

Extra body weight places stress on your back: Even if you’re just 10-20 pounds above a healthy weight range for someone of your stature, losing that extra fat lightens the load that your back must carry and can lead to increased comfort in everyday life. 

Rolandine reviews your current habits and diet during a virtual medical consultation and can help you approach weight management with a positive mindset. Recommendations for weight loss can include:

  • Dietary modifications
  • Increased exercise
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Cutting back on alcohol
  • Stress reduction

All of these tactics are beneficial for anyone, even if weight management isn’t your goal. Better nutrition and less stress alone can reduce back pain, and exercise can strengthen your back so it’s less prone to injury. 

2. Modify your diet

Speaking of dietary modifications, healthy eating is essential for anyone who wants to reduce persistent back pain. After you acknowledge this, the next step is to educate yourself on what constitutes a balanced and back-friendly diet. 

Healthy eating is most straightforward when you take it one meal at a time. Here are a few easy tips to use while planning your next meal:

  • Include lots of colors in your fruit and veggie spreads
  • Choose lean proteins like fish and chicken over red meat
  • Minimize sugary and carb-loaded foods like bread and cake
  • Minimize dairy

A diet loaded with sugars, carbs, and processed foods leads to chronic inflammation, which aggravates a painful back. Chronic inflammation makes it harder for your body to heal itself when something goes wrong, such as common back pain sources like osteoarthritis, strain, and degenerative disc disease. 

3. Prioritize your sleep

A busy waking life might drive you to sleep inconsistently or to stay up late in an attempt to enjoy some of your time when you’re not working. But sleep is important: It helps your body heal more effectively. When you don’t sleep enough, your body releases stress hormones and your pain tolerance gets lower. 

Learning about sleep hygiene is a great place to start if you want to reset your body’s internal clock and get adequate sleep. Your sleep hygiene is the conditions under which you sleep. To improve it, you should reduce screen time before bed, go to bed at the same time every night, use your bed only for sleeping, and avoid caffeine late in the day. 

4. Quit smoking immediately

Your smoking habit could be making your back pain worse than it would be if you didn’t smoke. In fact, research has identified a link between smoking and back pain. This is likely because smoking damages your arteries, and that artery damage can lead to increased back injuries. Plus, nicotine harms the cells that produce bone, so back fractures heal more slowly in smokers. 

5. Work on your posture

Your posture is how aligned you keep your back while standing, walking, and sitting upright. Good posture maintains the natural curvature of your spine without increasing or decreasing any of the three curves. 

For posture-maintaining tips and other lifestyle recommendations for back pain, don’t hesitate to schedule a telehealth consultation online or over the phone with Virtually Urgent Healthcare today.